A Sound Beach man has pleaded guilty to misdemeanors related to the 2019 illegal dumping of construction debris in Lake Ronkonkoma on Brookhaven Town land, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said.
Under a plea agreement, Rocco Schuster, 51, must pay the town $2,119.04 in restitution for cleanup and forfeit to Sini’s office a 2000 Freightliner FL50 truck that his attorney, Robert Macedonio, said was used in the dumping. Schuster faced misdemeanor charges in Suffolk First District Court for criminal mischief and unlawful disposal of solid waste. Schuster’s company, R & G Dumpsters, Inc., also pleaded guilty to criminal mischief.
"Our communities are not landfills, and we will aggressively pursue anyone who thinks otherwise," Sini said in a news release announcing Schuster's guilty plea.
In an interview, Macedonio said that Schuster "has taken responsibility for his actions. He has made full restitution to the Town of Brookhaven for the cost of pickup up and properly disposing of the waste. He regrets his mistake."
Surveillance video from 3:08 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2019, showed Schuster unloading 20 cubic yards of waste from a company truck on town property on Lloyd Court, according to the Suffolk release, which listed more than a dozen categories of debris, starting with lumber and ending with toilet, tub and sink pieces.
Lloyd Court backs onto a wooded area.
Detectives from the Suffolk County Police Department’s District Attorney’s Squad arrested Schuster and three months later.
In the district attorney's office release, Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine called illegal dumping a "serious crime and growing problem in the town."
In a separate case in 2018, Newsday reported that R & G Dumpsters was issued a ticket for unlawful disposal of solid waste and dumping in the pine barrens. Schuster paid that ticket, Macedonio said.